Be sure to TEST your forages for nitrates

Be sure to TEST your forages for nitrates

Producers are busy working out in the field on their forage sorghum or sudan, however, don’t forget to check for nitrates! The potential for high nitrate concentrations occurs when crops such as corn, sorghum, cereal grains and some grasses are exposed to drought, hail, frost, cloudy weather, or soil fertility imbalance. Nitrates accumulate in the lower portion of the plant when stresses reduce the crop yield to less than that expected based on the supplied nitrogen fertility level. When fed to livestock, nitrates interfere with the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Forages that contain high levels of nitrates can cause death, though not as quickly as prussic acid poisoning. In fact, some animals can adapt to increasing amounts of nitrate in feed. If cows are exposed to high levels of nitrate, there is a medication that can be given to them. All livestock are susceptible to nitrate toxicity, but cattle and horses are affected most often.

 

 

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